Baker Knight & The Knightmares

Baker KnightFrom: Birmingham, AL, USA

Thomas Baker Knight Jr. was an American songwriter and musician. Knight fronted the band Baker Knight & The Knightmares who released a number of singles in the 1960’s, Knight’s songs have been recorded by many artists, including Ricky Nelson, Paul McCartney, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Mickey Gilley, Sammy Davis Jr., and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Knight was the son of Thomas Baker Knight Sr. and Mary Knight. Knight Sr. passed away at the age of 32, and as a result of his mothers poor health, Knight Jr. was mainly raised by relatives. He learned to play the guitar while serving in the Air Force, and once he was discharged, Knight enrolled at the University of Alabama. In 1956, Knight founded Baker Knight & The Knightmares. Their debut single, “Bop Boogie To The Blues,” was released on Kit Records later that year. The band’s next release was “Bring My Cadillac Back,” was a local hit and was picked up and distributed by Decca Records. However, radio stations refused to play the song as it served as unpaid advertising for Cadillac cars. Decca held on to Knight for three more solo records, but none sold well and he was dropped from the label.

Knight’s career as a songwriter continued to develop, and he moved to Hollywood in 1958 in hopes of pursuing a career in acting. This evidently failed. Knight became friends with Eddie Cochran and Cochran’s girlfriend, songwriter Sharon Sheeley. Knight started to write songs for a number of established artists, composing some big hit singles. He would delve into psychedelia with the Knightmares, as well as for other artists, writing for the likes of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. In the 1970s, Knight focused more on country music. He would win the Academy of Country Music’s Song of the Year in 1976 with “Don’t The Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time,” which was performed by Mickey Gilley.

In 1985, Knight moved back to Birmingham. He was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and agoraphobia, thus limiting his musical output. In the 1990s, Knight set up a home studio and released a number of solo albums through his own personal website. He passed away of natural causes in 2005 at the age of 72.

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1967 single “I Feel Sick About The Whole Thing”
I Feel Sick About The Whole Thing

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